Source: Article titled – “Court rulings and lack of funds have been stumbling blocks” on ‘The Sunday Independent’ written by ‘Steven Motale’
ANC presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma’s campaign has not only been dealt a blow by the courts, it has also had to deal with corporate SA and some sections of the mainstream media which have been hostile to her campaign while openly backing her rival Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
On Friday, 14 branches in the Free State were barred by the court from taking part in the conference, along with the province’s 27-member provincial executive committee which was elected last week at a conference that has now been found to be unlawful.
In KZN the provincial executive committee was also barred from voting while a court appeal on the legitimacy of the party’s 2015 conference is in process. A similar ruling was issued in the North West, from where some structures will not be participating in the conference.
Apart from having to deal with a series of court blows, Dlamini Zuma has had to deal with lack of funding for her campaign while businesses were queuing to sponsor that of her main rival, Ramaphosa.
Contrary to ANC tradition and policy of the ruling party which foots the bill for accommodation of all conference delegates, this time things are different.
The Sunday Independent has reliably been informed that delegates supporting Ramaphosa have refused accommodation paid for by the ANC and have instead been booked into luxury hotels in the Monte Casino precinct allegedly paid for by Bidvest, a company with which Ramaphosa has for years had close business links.
The casino is home to Southern Sun Monte casino, Sun Square Monte Casino and Palazzo, all of which are run by Tsogo Sun. A hotel employee who declined to be identified for fear of victimization, confirmed that all three hotels were fully booked for the duration of the ANC conference. She confirmed that Bidvest was footing the bill for all ANC conference delegates.
ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa confirmed that the party had paid for the accommodation for all conference delegates, but not at hotels in the Monte Casino precinct.
“The ANC has booked all delegates to its 54th national conference. These bookings aren’t done on the basis of leadership preferences of provinces. The ANC strongly condemns the use of its name for private booking allegedly by Bidvest of hotels at Monte casino.”
The uMkhonto eSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) which is backing Dlamini-Zuma condemned what it called “bribing of delegates” by Bidvest.
MKMVA spokesperson Carl Niehaus said: “MKMVA finds the booking of luxury five- star hotels, by Bidvest, a company with which Mr Ramaphosa and Shanduka have close business links, very disturbing and entirely unacceptable.
“The only reasonable conclusion that one can come to is that Bidvest, as a major representative of white monopoly capital, is going full out to reward delegates to vote for Cyril Ramaphosa in the ANC national elective conference.”
Niehaus added: “This cannot be seen as anything else but as bribery. Especially since the delegates that Bidvest is rewarding/bribing in this manner are all delegates that as a precondition for this five-star treatment are expected to vote for Cyril Ramaphosa.
“Bidvest is with this step be having no different from other white monopoly capital companies, such as Investec and Standard Bank, who have shamelessly gone full out to meddle in the internal politics of the ANC.”
Niehaus said: “Clearly they will spare no action or corrupt practice to influence delegates to the ANC national elective conference to vote in favour of Cyril Ramaphosa, whom they see as the protector of their interests and guarantor for the continuation of white monopoly capital control over our economy.
“This behaviour is entirely unacceptable and goes against the established practices and culture of the ANC.”
Niehaus said taking into consideration Ramaphosa’s close association with Bidvest “it is inconceivable that comrade Ramaphosa is not aware of this highly dubious and unsavoury situation. MKMVA calls on comrade Ramaphosa to unequivocally and immediately denounce this blatant attempt to meddle in the ANC’s presidential elections, and to intervene to stop it with immediate effect.”
Ramaphosa’s campaign manager Benjani Chauke did not answer calls and messages left on his cellphone.
In its response to questions emailed to the company, Bidvest vehemently denied paying for the accommodation costs of ANC conference delegates supporting Ramaphosa.
Company spokesman Julian Gwillim said: “Numerous travel businesses form part of Bidvest, and these companies would routinely facilitate the travel and accommodation bookings of hundreds of thousands of clients every year. Bidvest has not paid any form of travel nor any form of accommodation for any delegates involved in the elective conference, nor has the company paid any costs related to the campaign of any individuals involved in the conference.”
Asked whether Bidvest was not concerned that its association with Ramaphosa would be seen an attempt by the company to capture the state in the light of the fact that should Ramaphosa be elected the next leader of the ANC, he will in all likelihood be the next president of the country, Gwillim insisted: “Bidvest is not sponsoring or funding the campaigns of any individuals involved in the elective conference, and to suggest otherwise is completely inaccurate and devoid of any truth. Bidvest has no insight into the ANC conference and its possible outcomes, and applies the highest levels of corporate governance in all its business and corporate affairs.”